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Élisabeth Borne named France’s new prime minister

Élisabeth Borne has been named as France’s new prime minister, making her the second woman to hold the position in French history, the presidential palace has confirmed.

Élisabeth Borne named France's new prime minister
(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 13, 2018, French Transports Minister Elisabeth Borne gives a speech prior to the vote on the state owned railway SNCF reform in Paris. - Elisabeth Borne was named as the new French Prime Minister on May 16, 2022. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP)

Élisabeth Borne will be France’s next prime minister, making her the second woman to hold the position in French history.

The Elysee said that Borne would now be charged with forming a government.

After having long ties to the Socialist Party, Borne joined President Macron’s party La République en Marche and became Minister of transport in May 2017.

In July 2019, she became minister of ecological and solidarity transition, and the following year, she was appointed labour minister under Jean Castex’s government.

She began her career in politics in the 1980s, when she worked for the Ministry of Public Works.

Borne has been a favourite for the role for several reasons, namely her ties to the political left, as well as her pro-environment credentials and long career in both public and private sectors.

Nominating what would be only the second female prime minister in modern French history is sure to generate positive headlines.

The last woman premier was Edith Cresson, who headed the cabinet from 1991-1992 under president Francois Mitterrand. Speaking with France’s Journal du Dimanche newspaper on Sunday, she said that the new female PM will “need lots of courage” as the environment remains “macho.”

Macron accepted the resignation of Castex after the pair spoke at the Elysée Palace on Monday afternoon.

READ MORE: What does a French Prime Minister actually do?

Previously Castex told French daily Le Parisien he prepared a “very simple, very classic” letter of departure, saying he is leaving the office “without remorse, nor regret.”

The departure of Castex, who was a surprise choice for the role in 2020, and the reshuffle will enable newly re-elected Macron to reshape the cabinet ahead of crucial parliamentary polls in June.

The centrist will need a parliamentary majority to push through his domestic agenda following his re-election, with a new left-wing alliance and the far-right threatening to block his programme.

Those criteria reflect his desire to focus on schools and health in the early part of his second term, as well as the climate crisis which he has promised to prioritise.

READ MORE: French phrase of the day: Locataire de Matignon

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POLITICS

Mayor of southern French town bans smoking in cars

The mayor of a town in southern France has banned smoking in cars in an attempt to limit forest fires - many of which are caused by carelessly discarded cigarette butts.

Mayor of southern French town bans smoking in cars

With France facing a hot, dry summer, some areas have already been hit by wildfires, while many others in the south of the country are on a high alert.

One of the major causes of the devastating fires is carelessly discarded cigarette butts, so the mayor of the commune of Langlade in the Gard département in south east France, has enacted a special decree banning smoking.

Smoking will be banned in a number of outdoor spaces that do not have facilities, including the town’s soccer stadium, shooting range, archery range, tennis courts – and also bans drivers from smoking in their cars. The decree is in force through the whole of the commune of Langlade.

The decree runs until July 31st and offenders risk a €15 fine – although local authorities told the Gazette de Nîmes that their main priority is raising awareness of the risk of fire from smoking, rather than handing out fines.

The Gard département has already been hit by a wildfire that destroyed several hundred acres, and firefighters have warned that the south of the country is ‘like a tinderbox’ because of the unusually early heatwave and drought that has left land parched.

READ ALSO What to do if you see a wildfire

In France smoking is banned in enclosed public spaces, but is legal in outdoor spaces such as open-air sports grounds and on the outdoor terraces of bars and cafés.

Smoking in a private vehicle is legal, as long as there are no young children in the car. Smoking while driving is not explicitly banned, but drivers can be fined if they are not in proper control of the vehicle.

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